"How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news..." Romans 10:15

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Kindness

One word has been rolling around in my brain for weeks maybe months.  The word is Kindness.  I haven't been able to identify why or to whom but just the idea of Kindness.  I did know that this was for me, not anyone else but for me to be extending Kindness.

It would be easy for me to chock this up to a need of the Cambodian people.  It is easy to point the finger to a country that was not shaped by Judeo/Christian ethical standards.  Kindness is one of the things you see lacking here.  Children are not taught to share, wait in lines, or let the another go first...and then they grow up and start driving. : )  I digress...

This word is for me...so I finally sat down and did a brief Biblical word study.  One of my favorite ways to tiptoe through Scripture.  Did you know that Kindness is all over the Bible?  It is such a common word but packed with meaning.  At first you may want to lump it into compassion, and while similar, compassion I believe is directed more towards someone in need.  I feel like compassion could come and go as circumstances change.  Kindness seems to be steady, a way to treat all people in all circumstances.

I like to think of myself as a kind person...but maybe I am just compassionate.   My heart goes out to people, especially people in need and I want to help alleviate their pain and suffering.  When a disaster hits somewhere in the world...my first thought is how can I help...I want to be on the ground providing aide of any sort.

But what about Kindness?

I am not kind, especially in my heart or head when I feel mistreated or undervalued.  I don't often give the benefit of the doubt.  I am not kind when someone here in Cambodia cuts me off in traffic.  My first thought may be about their safety, but it quickly digresses.  Oh the list is long...

In Scripture Kindness in linked with repentance and justice.  (Hosea 12:6).  In Romans we learn that it is God's Kindness that leads to repentance.  The original Hebrew/Greek word is also translated into favor, good, lovingkindness, mercy, loyalty etc...

"So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;..." Col 3:12  Paul is exhorting fellow believers to embrace Christ, who is our life, and allow Him to change us and work through us.  He talks about putting on the new and leaving the old behind.  Part of the new is Kindness.

I can't muster up Kindness...it's a fruit of the Spirit.  It doesn't come from me what comes from me isn't pretty.  If Kindness is linked with justice, compassion and repentance I need to pay attention.  If it's God's kindness that draws people to Him, wouldn't it be like Him to want to show Kindness through me in order to draw people to Himself?

Kindness is important...I believe that when it is shown people respond.  When you are offered Kindness you notice, you stop, you think, you wonder.  I suppose in the midst of busy lives we can miss Kindness offered...but we can never truly miss the ramifications of Kindness.  Anger averted, harsh words not spoken, fists unclenched, voices silenced, smiles offered, hands extended, understanding, hugs given, love exchanged.  Isn't that like God to use such a common word/idea for transformation.  I believe that Kindness opens doors and hearts.

I want to be a vehicle for the Kindness of Jesus (fruit of the Spirit) to flow through me and splash onto others!  As I introduce others to their Creator, I want them to know His Kindness, to repent and to follow Him.  Lord Jesus may you draw many unto Yourself here in Cambodia!!!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Beads

These women are working hard making beads and jewelry.  They come together every week for Bible study and supplies.  In the future there will be more training opportunities as well; literacy, business, English etc...

One bead at a time these women are providing for their families!








In partnership with LightBridge Int.




Pchum Ben

We are in the thick of celebrations here in Cambodia.  Last Tuesday I was awakened at 3:30 am to the sound of the monks chanting and music playing until sunrise.  Every morning for 15 days straight the monks will do the same thing and Khmer people will visit the Pagoda's and bring food.  Some have likened this celebration to our Christmas.

This is Pchum Ben and Cambodians are paying their respects to their deceased relatives, ancestor worship.  Once a year it is believed that the gates of hell open and ghosts of the dead are especially active.  The ghosts are more active at night so the monks chant, and the food is given so that they can eat, but also to benefit them in their after life transitions.

Cambodia really makes this a celebration, everyone goes to their home province to spend time with family.  You see women walking in their finest clothes to the Pagoda's swinging a food container as they go.  Everyone asks how you are going to celebrate, where you are going etc... A break from work, time with family and good food, does sound a bit like Christmas.

There is no comparison...one honors the dead and the deceiver and one honors the Giver of life come to earth to save us from deception.  What the enemy of our soul began in the Garden, he continues to do today, and here in Cambodia he is being honored by those who are still being sucked into his deception.  The thing with deception is that you don't know it is happening.

My prayer is that the eyes of the hearts of many will be opened to the truth.  Not only the truth of the enemy but the Truth that is Jesus Christ.  It's why I have come to Cambodia...it is why we share with our neighbors, friends, family and strangers...it is why Jesus has left us on earth, to share Truth.  He wants to open the eyes of the blind, set the captives free and He uses us.  Deception comes to us all, the deceiver seeks to devour and destroy, not just here in Cambodia but world wide.

We all need Jesus!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Tanks

After a winding 10 minute drive off the highway you come upon a few scattered huts and a building site for a new church.  Park the car and walk a few 100 yards on a little dirt path.  You may be greeted by some children along the way.  Pass two small shack homes turn right into the third home, walk to the back and under a mango tree is a rickety bamboo bed.  Wait a few minutes while the women and children are collected, and then have Bible study.  I get to do this every Tuesday morning!

I am amazed each time I sit under this mango tree, brushing off ants and wiping sweat off my brow, that I get to introduce these women and children to their Creator.  Others have come and shared, some Korean missionaries are building a Church, but when you ask these women, this is the first time they are understanding who God is and that He created them and loves them.

Words can't express what runs through my head when I contemplate this reality.  What a privilege to sit with these women and children and tell them a truth from Scripture wrapped in a story.  What a honor to pray for them and with them.  What a joy to see their faces light up with understanding.


































These faces, these lives, these souls need to know Jesus!


Saturday, August 25, 2012

new home

In July I was able to move into my new home in Battambang.  I hired a truck to carry all of my belongings from Phnom Penh to Battambang.  My friends who had sublet their home to me for the last 6 months also let me store my things until I had a new place.  The weekend before the move was a flurry of shopping as I needed everything....curtains, beds, stove, refrigerator, washing machine etc...  Here is a picture of the initial loading...we still had on more stop to add many more things!  The driver got it all on the truck and it all made it safe and sound to my new home! : )



After we sent the overloaded truck on its way my friend Louise and I made a few more stops and then hit the road.  The final stop was to pick up my little dog, Harley.  My friends BJ and Andrea had a sweet little shi tzu that needed a home.  So Harley joined us for my move up North!  Isn't she cute?!?




This is my little home. 
My new couch...it's kinda of chocolate brown and purple.
The dining room area leading to the kitchen

My bedroom

Kitchen...fridge and stove....hallway leads to a large room that has become storage

Huge ant cabinet to keep all my food safe from little critters
I also have a great guest room...not yet ready for pictures...so if you are in the area, you have a place to stay!!

My home has been a huge blessing.  It is a shared property with the landlady and several other buildings.  Currently there is a NGO in one building, the landlady and her family next door to me and another Khmer couple across the way.  The lot is big and gated and sharing with others makes it very safe for me.  There are 2 hotels within walking distance that I can go for a meal from time to time as well.

The home was not complete when I moved in, it was in the process of being renovated so I wasn't able to check everything out prior to the move.   So the waterfall feature in the bathroom should get fixed soon, and is only an issue when it rains. ; )  I am hopeful they will get it fixed, they have tried several times without success.

All in all it's a great little place...and if feels good to be settled!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, 
"All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.  "Go therefore and make disciples of all  the nations, baptizing  them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
Matthew 28:18-20

This last week at the Minefield Village we had a baptism service, the first of its kind in this little village.  We have been coming and sharing the gospel with these dear people for several years and this time we took the next step.  

Throughout the week we shared again the gospel message with the women and children.  So many were responding and really understanding who Jesus is and what He has done for us, that we were compelled to offer baptism.  As Sareth shared more deeply with the children and then the women it became evident that many had put their trust in Jesus and were ready to follow Him in baptism and make a public declaration of their faith!

I don't really have words to share what this was like.  After lunch we all walked the dirt road to the pond.  Many gathered while the children lined up to enter the water.  Two at a time the children waded in the murky water slipping and sliding.  Sareth spoke only in Khmer asking each child for their declaration of faith and trust in Jesus.  Their sweet little voices answering back their affirmation.  And then in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit they were baptized.  There was applause that I am sure was a small representation of the party going on in Heaven. 

The process was the same with the women.  One woman bringing her small son along with her into the water.  Two by two they came and affirmed their faith and trust in Jesus...and in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit they were baptized.

This is one of my favorite women.  She latched on to me my first time in the village.  Every time I come we  'connect' without words.  What a privilege to be a part of her baptism.

The women praying together after their baptism.  

The children praying, so many sweet little lives learning to trust and follow Jesus!

The whole group...almost...some are on the sides.  What a joyful event for all of us.  Amazing!

Now to fulfill the second part of Jesus command...teaching them to observe all that He has commanded.  Sareth will be doing follow up with these new followers of Christ, and I will be starting a Bible study with the women.  God is at work.  Please join me in prayer for the protection of these dear brothers and sisters in the Lord as they continue to step out in faith and trust.  The enemy will try and discourage them and harm them.  Please pray that their faith will be strengthened.  Please pray for Sareth and me as we open up the truths of Scripture, that the Lord will direct us as we prepare and teach.

I am overwhelmed as I think of what the Lord is doing.  He is drawing women and children unto himself...and I am amazed.  Words do fail me as I think of the work that the Lord Jesus is doing...and blessing me by allowing me to witness His work!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

This is Bopha...my new ministry helper.  



We have been talking and praying about working together for a couple of months.  I met her through my tutor, another one of the Lord's provisions.  Here is a bit of the story....

After language learning on Phnom Penh the plan was for me to move to Sisaphon.  Around Christmas time this year I began to wonder and sense that the Lord might be having me move to another city, Battambang.  After some discussions with my boss Paul and Sareth and much prayer it was decided Battambang would be a better location for me to live.

I shared with my tutor, Ming Suein that I was going to be moving to Battambang and she started praying. ; ) Her daughter in law's sister is Bopha.  Ming knew that Bopha has been praying and hoping for an opportunity to move back to Battambang to live with her mother.  After 10 years of living away from her home, Bopha was convinced that she needed to come home, but she needed a job in Battambang.

Ming prayed for a couple of weeks before she mentioned what the Lord was putting together in her mind...and then she talked to the both of us.  Bopha needed a job in Battambang and I needed a ministry helper!   Thank you to those of you who prayed with me as I waited for the Lord's confirmation of this partnership.  I am looking forward to working with Bopha and learning from her as we minister to the military wives.

Bopha has been a believer for many years.  Her whole family came to Christ after one of her sisters learned about Jesus, and shared with the family.  Bopha is a single woman about my age and I think we have much in common.  Cambodians seem to hold their emotions close, but I think she is excited to work with me.  I do  know that she is glad to be part of teaching women about Jesus.  She has been leading a devotional time with the women at her current job.  I also know that I am blessed to have her working with me.  I need her to help me with many things...translating my teaching, continued language learning and cultural interpretation.  

I love how the Lord brought her to me...I hadn't begun to look for a ministry helper, just praying and Bopha was praying too.  Amazing!  We start ministry together July 2nd! : )

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I woke up this morning a bit cranky.  Let me explain...


The electricity has been going off sometime in the wee hours of the morning for several days.  We are in hot season just before the rainy season starts full force, and the days and nights are... hot.  I get all excited about taking my nightly shower and heading to bed, where 2 fans keep me cool all night long.  (sometimes it's the air conditioner...but usually the fans)  Well when the electricity goes off, those hours of blissful sleep are sadly interrupted...and I wake up cranky!


This morning had a special 'crankiness' to it.  I longed for my hot pot to be working so that I could have my caffeinated tea and I refused to dig into my stash of diet coke. (because I have given diet coke up, except for emergency situations like migraines...and celebratory situations, like vacations...good study session etc...)  My gratification was delayed more than an hour.


Finally I sat down with my tea and breakfast with a sigh already feeling much better because I was back in front of my fan. : )  Wouldn't you know the Lord had me read Hebrews 11and 12 today.  I was brought to my knees with my lack of faith and gratitude.  In comparison to what the saints of old endured I have suffered nothing.


Moses left the comforts of Egypt
Sarah waited and waited for Your promise
Noah acted on Your words alone


My mind began to wander...


I imagine Abraham and Isaac had hardship as they traipsed up the mountainside but that paled in comparison to the turmoil in Abraham's heart.  Not only was he going to lose his son, but by his own hand.


Forty years in the desert!  No destination just wandering at the will of these pillars of cloud and fire.  They had to begin to wonder, what was the point?  How do you plan for your future?  What do you talk about with your neighbors day in and day out?  Why not try worshiping an idol?


I have suffered nothing in comparison, especially a little heat and lack of sleep.  My crankiness did not grow into a full fledged rebellion there wasn't any anger in my heart, I was just cranky.  But my crankiness really can be part of a downward spiral that leads to a 'golden calf' of my own.


The Lord doesn't want that for me.  He has created my faith and He is nurturing my faith so that it will grow stronger and purer.  So instead of allowing my crankiness to continue, He graciously pointed me back to Him.  My heart overflows with thankfulness!


Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run  with endurance  the race that is set before us,  fixing  our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and  lose heart.  Hebrews 12:1-3

I wonder if the electricity will go off tomorrow morning?  What makes you cranky and headed downward?  Here's a reminder for you and me...

Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will go strangely dim, it the light of His glory and grace!




Sunday, April 8, 2012

Party in the Minefield (March 2012)

Through a Christmas Partnership with Cadence International and Lightbridge International...~50 families received animals.  A local organization provided training on how to care for the animals and purchased the animals and I got to show up for the party (i.e. gifting ceremony).   Each family got either 10 ducks or chickens and one family a cow.   Life change one family at a time. : )






Friday, April 6, 2012

Gratitude

This year I am celebrating Easter in Cambodia.  


Throughout the year when  big a celebration is coming I try and take some time to reflect and look for something new,  a deeper understanding, or a more personal application... something.  I don't want the life, death and resurrection of Jesus to go unnoticed in my heart or my life.


This year I have been doing some specific Scriptural readings for Lent.  Since I don't come from a liturgical background, this is not part of my normal Easter celebration and I have really enjoyed it.  I have tiptoed through both the Old and New Testaments.  The amazing reminder of how awful sin really is and our dire need for a Savior has jumped from the pages of Scripture.


The chasm between a sinner and a holy God is huge and no amount of human effort breaches that.  


In the Philippines there is an extreme tradition for Easter. This year one man will once again hang on a cross.  There is no intent to kill this man, but for him to willingly walk in the steps of Jesus and somehow grow closer to Him.  (I am not exactly sure all the reasons, but this has been going on for as long as I can remember.)


The other extreme are those in the world who choose to ignore Jesus and His work on the cross, and His power over death as seen in His resurrection.  


So often when I speak the name of Jesus here in Cambodia, I get a blank stare or some confusion about what I have said.   The awareness of Jesus let alone His power over sin and death is non-existent to many.  This is the greater tragedy.


In my own life it is easy to take for granted all that Jesus is and has done.  Thankfully, I have never not known about Jesus.  My life has been surrounded by His truth and love, and I am forever grateful, but some days I take Him for granted.


Recently I was able to be part of a celebration.  We were able to gift about 50 families in our Minefield ministry site with some animals. (chickens, ducks and one family received a cow : )  Many people gave so that these families could be blessed, and I was blessed to be present for the ceremony.


All the families were thankful, but one woman stood out to me.  Her thankfulness flowed out of her in ways she couldn't contain.  I have no idea of her circumstances, but it seemed as if 10 ducks were going to change her life.    


Her posture of thankfulness is one I want to emulate in response to Jesus.  I don't want to take Him for granted, and I want to remember that He has not only changed my life but He has given me new life in Him!


I am looking forward to the rest of the story of this dear woman.  I desperately want her to know Jesus and  have her life not only changed for today and tomorrow but for eternity!


Monday, March 26, 2012

Boldness

Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.  Acts 4:29 & 30


Right after Peter and John were questioned and challenged by the Sanhedrin, this is what they prayed.  They didn't ask for protection or peace but boldness to proclaim the Word of God.   Everything they said and did was being watched, they were a threat and their lives were in danger.  But...they prayed for Boldness.


The power of Jesus was working through them, amazing things were happening, and thousands were believing in Jesus.  The Holy Spirit gave them all boldness not only Peter and John but all the believers of this first century church.  They continued to  proclaimed the risen Lord!


I am praying for boldness too!  I am reluctant to pray this way, it is easier and safer to only pray for protection and peace.  I still pray for those as well, but I have added boldness to my prayers.  I pray that the Lord will make me a bold witness for Jesus here in Cambodia.  That He will stretch out His hand and heal...and that many will come to faith in Him because He brought me to Cambodia.  


For your Glory Lord may many women learn of you and come to follow You...all because You chose to send me to Cambodia...You chose to fill me with Yourself...and You chose to give me boldness!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Blessings!

Yesterday as I was stumbling around, just waking up, I found myself thanking the Lord once again that I was in Cambodia.  This is right where I am supposed to be. : ) Yep! a coherent thought in the morning...and one of thanksgiving! 




Here is a little reminder of my country for you.  Right now I am in Phnom Penh, but in a few months I will move up north...we are praying about the exact location, a new option is Battambang.
It is a blessing to be here!


In mid-December I moved...just 5 minutes away from my original apartment.   A sweet Australian couple needed to have someone live in their home while they went back home for 6 months.  It was a perfect fit for me.  A little less rent and the house feels more 'real' than the 'hotel' I was living in before.


I live on the main floor and the Cambodian landlord and his family live upstairs.  The home is very spacious and comfortable.  I have a spare room, and already have had several guests.  Come for a visit, I have a room for you : )


The Lord has blessed in many ways...here is a small sampling.  Thank you for being part of the blessing...and join me in the Thanksgiving!


My new bedroom...I think I might be crazy to try white ...but time will tell.  

As you walk in...notice the couch in the background...I have a living room too.

Here is half of the kitchen...including a full trashcan and full dish rack.  I am still trying to figure out where to put everything. : )

Here are 2 blessings....a scooter and a SUV.  Thanks to all who gave so that I can get around town.  I am still learning to like my scooter.   I think it has more to do with the traffic than the scooter...time will tell!

Another shot of the Mitsubishi Montero.  This is a huge blessing.  I have enjoyed driving this around Phnom Penh...next step is taking it out in the country. 

Monday, January 9, 2012

6 months already

This video is a good reminder to me of why I am here...learning the language...and why I can't wait to get up North.


I Can Do This from Cadence International on Vimeo.